Football

My thoughts on the Pogba transfer

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Photo ‘Nazionale Calcio’ via Flickr

The Pogba transfer saga seems to be coming its conclusion and I have to say I’m excited for the new season now. It has indeed become such a saga that I feel the need to even write this blog post. So it’s going to cover my feelings on the transfer, how he’ll fit into the team and how I see this affecting United’s season. This is all assuming the deal goes ahead- which looks pretty much guaranteed at this stage…

1. “The agent is making him go back.”

First things first, I don’t care what anyone says, Pogba wanted to come back to United. He may have preferred a move to Real Madrid but there must have been a will from him to return. If he had no interest or intention of re-joining, he could’ve just said to Riola ‘I don’t want to go back, I’m happy at Juventus and I want to stay here’. At the end of the day, no matter the motivation of the agent, his job is to represent his client. Pogba had the choice in this deal and he chose to come back. I’m guessing that he likes the idea of returning but it would’ve been a dream come true to join Madrid- something like that.

2. “Oh it’s far too much money. You can buy Kroos and James Rodriguez with that.”

Second point, I genuinely don’t care about the money that’s being paid. Is it a lot of money? Of course, but it’s not my £92 million. Also surely it’s a much worse deal for Juventus to pay £75 million for Higuain? The point of a buyout clause is that it’s an inflated price. The money is exactly what the club would want but they don’t expect anyone to pay it. But Juventus did…for a 28 year old. How many years of top level football are you going to get out of him? 3-4 likely. Pogba is 23, you’re going to get 8-9 years of top level football. Also for Higuain, there is no re-sell value, once he’s finished those four years, he’ll likely be worth £15 – £20 million.

I actually expect Pogba to stay at United for about five years and then move to Madrid, but how much will he be worth then if he carries on his progress? £200 million? It’s so difficult to judge because we don’t know how player prices are going to change in the future. What we do know is that right now, every good player is expensive. £92m is a lot but when you think about the advertising revenue and shirt sales, trophies, putting United back up with the top teams- they will see it as a worthwhile investment, especially in comparison with the Higuain deal. The real winners though in this window are Napoli. They’ve sold a player for a crazy amount who has no sell-on value.

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Photo ‘Nazionale Calcio’ via Flickr

Also all these people online saying “you can buy X and Y with the money”- if only football transfers were as easy as that. You can’t just buy a player like you’re in a supermarket. What if the player doesn’t want to join your club? What if the club doesn’t want to sell him? What if player X costs more than you expected and now you can’t afford Y? What if the initial target is more suited to what you need than X and Y?

Don’t just say to buy other players with the money, it’s far more complicated than that. Also with player prices at the moment, £92m doesn’t get you Kroos and Rodriguez. It gets you Stones and Sterling. That’s not me criticising those two players, it’s the truth.

So what now?

So now I’ve made my thoughts on those issues clear, I have to now talk about what this transfer means for United. It means we are getting a very exciting player, who’s one of the best in his position in the world. He is a huge name with great potential when you think of his age. He can be the difference between United only being in the top 4 and challenging or winning the title. I feel he can make that big of an impact. Of course, there shouldn’t really be a ‘settling in’ period because he’s played in England before, he speaks the language, he knows the Manchester area etc. I imagine it’ll take players like Mkhitaryan and Bailly longer to adjust.

Here’s how I’d like the team to set up, assuming there are no more major signings. Personally, I think this is a really good team and I hope to see it, although I expect Mourinho to favour the 4-2-3-1:

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I would feel happy and excited with that team heading into the new season. It’s about having multiple threats. Last season United were so reliant on Martial, it was actually a joke. If he had a bad game, it was pretty likely we’d lose. No other player stepped up in the tough matches (except Rashford towards the end of the season). So now, you have goal threats from all the front three and Pogba.

Conclusion

Even though it seems to have dragged on, I understand how difficult this deal has been to complete. I just hope there are no last minute disasters and we’ll see him playing in a United shirt again for the new season. Him working in tandem with Martial, Ibrahimovic and Mkhitaryan…sounds very exciting indeed.

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